Idaho fought hard against No. 8 Washington Saturday in Seattle.
The Huskies validated their top 10 ranking with a 59-14 win over the Vandals.
The game marked Washington’s fifth straight game scoring 40 or more points.
Husky sophomore quarterback Jake Browning completed 23 of 28 passes for 294 yards. His five touchdowns tied the school record for most in a game.
Junior quarterback Matt Linehan saw less success, throwing for 187 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore linebacker Kaden Elliss led the Vandal defense with eight total tackles and one sack.
The running game took a backseat for both teams. Junior running back Aaron Duckworth ran for 31 yards on nine attempts. Washington’s Myles Gaskin managed 67 yards on 12 touches.
“The team was better than us and they got after us, but I thought our guys stayed fighting in the second half,” Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said after the game.
After a rough first half, the Vandals were unable to regain momentum in the second half.
Idaho senior Calen Hightower fumbled the opening kickoff. Washington quickly recovered and scored the first touchdown of the day on the next play.
Idaho’s defense stepped up during Washington’s next drive. Elliss tackled Browning and grabbed the ball. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Tony Lashley recovered the fumble, giving the Vandals a better field position.
Linehan tried to throw for a fast touchdown, but his pass to senior tight end Trent Cowan was ruled out of bounds. Linehan looked deep, this time to redshirt junior wide receiver Jacob Sannon. Sannon dove for the end zone, but fumbled. The loose ball was recovered by Washington on the three-yard line.
“Jacob, he kind of reached out to try and get into the end zone, but you have to give them credit, they had three players flying to the ball and had a great hit on him,” Petrino said. “We have to take care of the ball but you also have to give them credit for big hits.”
Idaho began the second quarter on fourth down. Linehan kept the ball and ran, but was tackled 1 yard short of the first down marker.
After the turnover on downs, Browning tossed a seven-yard score to Washington receiver Dante Pettis, extending the Huskies’ lead to 14.
Browning threw another touchdown, this time to Washington sophomore Chico McClatcher. With 7:37 left in the half, Washington led Idaho 21-0.
Linehan tried to lead the Vandals back down the field, but two sacks by the Washington defense stalled the drive.
With two minutes left, the Huskies marched down the field and capped a one-minute drive with a 7-yard touchdown courtesy of Gaskin. During that drive, Browning completed 13 consecutive passes.
After an Idaho punt, Washington drove into the end zone for another touchdown.
Idaho went to the locker room down 35-0.
Browning led the Huskies to two more touchdowns to start the second half. Husky receivers Andre Barcellia and John Ross both hauled in touchdown passes for 19 and eights yards respectively.
With four minutes left, Idaho made it onto the scoreboard.
Linehan threw a 20-yard pass to the middle of the end zone. Cowan saved an interception and snatched the ball out of the defender’s hands for six points.
The Huskies answered with a touchdown of their own, putting Washington up 49-7.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Gunnar Amos gave Idaho a second touchdown with a 6-yard run. Washington responded with a long field goal and an interception return by Connor O’Brien to end the game.
After the game, Petrino looked disheartened.
“We’re going to show up tomorrow and compete and battle and get better,” Petrino said. “It was just a day where we got beat.”
Idaho plays Washington State at 11 a.m. Saturday in Pullman.
Brandon Hill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill